Republican Lawmakers Rally Opposition to House Reform Proposal
On Thursday, nearly 10,000 people from various parts of the country descended on Capitol Hill to protest the House health care reform bill (HR 3962) ahead of a scheduled vote on Saturday, the Washington Post reports.
The crowd waved flags and rang bells as they chanted, "Kill this bill," while some people carried signs that read, "No Socialistic Health Care" (Rucker, Washington Post, 11/6).
The rally was organized by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who last week appeared on cable news shows with an invitation to viewers to attend the rally and lobby lawmakers.
Flanked by a group of other Republican House members, Bachmann told the crowd on Thursday, "You came to your House," adding, "You came for an emergency House call" (Hook/Levey, Los Angeles Times, 11/6).
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), urged the crowd to "join us in saying no to a government takeover of health care." He added, "Join us in rejecting higher taxes and more deficits. Join us in defending our freedom. And join us in defeating Pelosi-care," referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (Barr, Politico, 11/5).
12-Hour Online Town Hall Draws Thousands
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee on Thursday hosted a 12-hour online GOP town-hall meeting, during which Republican lawmakers and analysts criticized the House bill, The Hill reports.
According to RNC, the event received more than 13,000 hits and about 600 viewer-submitted questions.
House Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence (Ind.) said, "Our total focus is to make sure the people understand what's in the [House] health care plan" (The Hill, 11/5).
Boehner, who also participated in the town-hall discussion, said, "I do think there is a rebellion going on in this country." He said, "What they are saying is 'enough is enough,'" adding, "There are tens of thousands of Americans who have come to Washington to say they don't want Pelosi-care" (Politico, 11/5).
Democrats Dismiss Significance of Protests
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said that the protests were "a great exercise in democracy, but it isn't going to make a damn bit of difference at this point."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that "anybody that watches is struck by the fact that there's a rally going on without a solution on their side" (The Hill, 11/5).
Democratic National Committee spokesperson Hari Sevugan said, "It's [the GOP's] extreme right-wing, rigid ideological agenda that has Americans leaving the Republican Party in droves -- and so, if displays like today are what they think is a smart political strategy, all we can say is: Go for it" (Washington Post, 11/6).Brendan Daly, a spokesperson for Pelosi, said, "While the Party of No holds a rally to once again say no, our health insurance reform bill was endorsed by the AARP" and the American Medical Association, adding, "We are continuing with our job of passing legislation that will help the American people" (Allen/Shiner, Politico, 11/5). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.